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A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NOVEL

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NOVEL

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NOVEL

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  1. A BRIEF HISTORYOFTHE NOVEL

  2. GENERAL PARAMETERS OF THE NOVEL • GENRE: Fiction: Narrative • STYLE: Prose • LENGTH: Extended (beyond novella) • PURPOSE: Mimesis: Verisimilitude “The Novel is a picture of real life and manners, and of the time in which it is written. The Romance, in lofty and elevated language, describes what never happened nor is likely to happen.” Clara Reeve, The Progress of Romance, 1785 Term came into use end of 18th century

  3. Traditional Novel • Unified and plausible plot structure • Sharply individualized and believable characters • Pervasive illusion of reality

  4. Where did it come from • Drama and Poetry – 2 ancient forms • Public demand • Expansion of middle class – literacy and financial • High interest in auto/bio, journals, diaries, memoirs • Alexander Pope – “The proper study of mankind is man.” • Departs from allegory and romance – verisimilitude

  5. Verisimilitude • a semblance of truth • recognizable settings and characters in real time • what Hazlitt calls, “the close imitation of men and manners… the very texture of society as it really exists.” • Novel emerged when authors fused adventure and romance with verisimilitude; heroes that were not supermen but ordinary people, often, insignificant nobodies. 4th hour • Mimesis – imitation of human actions in lit and art

  6. Narrative Precursors to the Novel • Heroic EpicsGilgamesh, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Mahabharata, Valmiki’s Ramayana, Virgil’s Aeneid, Beowulf, The Song of Roland • Ancient Greek and Roman Romances and NovelsAn Ephesian Tale and Chaereas and Callirhoe,, Apuleius’s The Golden Ass • Oriental Frame TalesThe Jataka, A Thousand and One Nights • Irish and Icelandic SagasThe Tain bo Cuailinge, Njal’s Saga

  7. Narrative Precursors to the Novel • Medieval European RomancesArthurian tales culminating in Malory’s MorteDarthur • Elizabethan Prose FictionNashe’sThe Unfortunate Traveller,Deloney’sJackof Newbury • Travel AdventuresMarco Polo, More’s Utopia, Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Voltaire’s Candide • NovelleBoccaccio’s Decameron, Moral TalesBunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progess,

  8. The First Novels • The Tale of Genji( Japan, 11th c. )by Lady MurasakiShikibu • Don Quixote ( Spain, 1605-15) by Miguel de Cervantes • The Princess of Cleves (France, 1678) by Madame de Lafayette • Robinson Crusoe (England, 1719) , Moll Flanders (1722) and A Journal of the Plague Year (1722) by Daniel DeFoe • Defoe – founder – dominant theme, realism, middle class perspective, claimed fiction as fact • Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (England, 1740-1742) by Samuel Richardson • Richardson – novel of character – complex and complete human beings, works were moral preachments • Joseph Andrews (England, 1742) and Tom Jones (1746)by Henry Fielding • Fielding first to openly write novels • Both books contain parts that attempt to define novel

  9. Types of Novels • Picaresque • Epistolary • Sentimental • Gothic • Historical • Psychological • Realistic/Naturalistic • Regional • Social • Adventure • Mystery • Science Fiction • Magical Realism

  10. Ming Literature Development of the novel • Arose from traditions of Chinese storytelling • Written in commoner’s language • Divided into chapters at points where storytellers would have stopped to collect money • Classics of Chinese literature: • Water Margin, 16th c. – band of outlaws • Romance of Three Kingdoms, 16th c. – historical novel • Monkey: Journey to the West, 16th-17th c.

  11. Don Quixoteby Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) • First European novel: part I - 1605; part II - 1615 • A psychological portrait of a mid-life crisis • Satirizes medieval romances, incorporates pastoral, picaresque, social and religious commentary • What is the nature of reality? • How does one create a life?

  12. The Rise of the English Novel • The Restoration of the monarchy (1660) in England after the Puritan Commonwealth (1649-1660) encouraged an outpouring of secular literature • Appearance of periodical literature: journals and newspapers • Literary Criticism • Character Sketches • Political Discussion • Philosophical Ideas • Increased leisure time for middle class: Coffee House and Salon society • Growing audience of literate women

  13. Daniel Defoe • Master of plain prose and powerful narrative • Reportial: highly realistic detail • Travel adventure: Robinson Crusoe, 1719 • Contemporary chronicle: Journal of the Plague Year , 1722 • Picaresques: Moll Flanders, 1722and Roxana

  14. Picaresque Novels • Derives from Spanish picaro: a rogue • A usually autobiographical chronicle of a rascal’s travels and adventures as s/he makes his/her way through the world more by wits than industry • Episodic, loose structure • Highly realistic: detailed description and uninhibited expression • Satire of social classes • Contemporary picaresques: Saul Bellow’s Adventures of Augie March; Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

  15. Epistolary Novels • Novels in which the narrative is told in letters by one or more of the characters • Allows author to present feelings and reactions of characters, brings immediacy to the plot, allows multiple points of view • Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice • Psychological realism • Contemporary epistolary novels: Alice Walker’s The Color Purple; Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine; Kalisha Buckhannon’s Upstate

  16. Fathers of the English Novel • Pamela (1740) and Clarissa (1747-48) • Epistolary • Sentimental • Morality tale: Servant resisting seduction by her employer • Shamela (1741) Joseph Andrews (1742), and Tom Jones (1749) • Picaresque protagonists • “comic epic in prose” • Parody of Richardson Henry Fielding 1707-1754 Samuel Richardson1689-1761

  17. Jane Austen and the Novel of Manners • Novels dominated by the customs, manners, conventional behavior and habits of a particular social class • Often concerned with courtship and marriage • Realistic and sometimes satiric • Focus on domestic society rather than the larger world • Other novelists of manners: Anthony Trollope, Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Margaret Drabble

  18. Gothic Novels • Novels characterized by magic, mystery and horror • Exotic settings – medieval, Oriental, etc. • Originated with Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto (1764) • William Beckford: Vathek, An Arabian Tale (1786) • Anne Radcliffe: 5 novels (1789-97) including The Mysteries of Udolpho • Widely popular genre throughout Europe and America: Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland (1798) • Contemporary Gothic novelists include Anne Rice and Stephen King

  19. Frankensteinby Mary Shelley1797-1851 • Inspired by a dream in reaction to a challenge to write a ghost story • Published in 1817 (rev. ed. 1831) • A Gothic novel influenced by Promethean myth • The first science fiction novel

  20. Novels of Sentiment; Emerging Romanticism • Novels in which the characters, and thus the readers, have a heightened emotional response to events • Connected to emerging Romantic movement • Laurence Sterne (1713-1768): TristamShandy(1760-67) • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832): The Sorrows of Young Werther(1774) • Francois Rene de Chateaubriand (1768-1848): Atala(1801) and Rene (1802) • The Brontës: Anne BrontëAgnes Grey (1847) Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (1847), Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847) • James Fenimore Cooper – The Last of the Mohicans • Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter, House of Seven Gables • Melville – Moby Dick

  21. The BrontësCharlotte (1816-55), Emily (1818-48), Anne (1820-49) • Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre transcend sentiment into myth-making • Wuthering Heights plumbs the psychic unconscious in a search for wholeness, while Jane Eyre narrates the female quest for individuation portrait by Branwell Brontë of his sisters, Anne, Emily, and Charlotte (c. 1834)

  22. Historical Novels – Victorians, too • Novels that reconstruct a past age, often when two cultures are in conflict • Fictional characters interact with with historical figures in actual events • Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) is considered the father of the historical novel: The Waverly Novels (1814-1819) and Ivanhoe (1819)

  23. Realism and Naturalism • Middle class • Pragmatic • Psychological • Mimetic art • Objective, but ethical • Sometimes comic or satiric • How can the individual live within and influence society? • Honore Balzac, Gustave Flaubert, George Eliot, William Dean Howells, Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy, George Sand • Middle/Lower class • Scientific • Sociological • Investigative art • Objective and amoral • Often pessimistic, sometimes comic • How does society/the environment impact individuals? • Emile Zola, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Thomas Hardy, Stephen Crane, Theodore Dreiser

  24. Social Realism • Social or Sociological novels deal with the nature, function and effect of the society which the characters inhabit – often for the purpose of effecting reform • Social issues came to the forefront with the condition of laborers in the Industrial Revolution and later in the Depression: Dickens’ Hard Times, Gaskell’s Mary Barton; Eliot’s Middlemarch; Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath • Slavery and race issues arose in American social novels: Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 20th c. novels by Wright, Ellison, etc. • Muckrakers exposed corruption in industry and society: Sinclair’s The Jungle, Steinbeck’s Cannery Row • Propaganda novels advocate a doctrinaire solution to social problems: Godwin’s Things as They Are, Rand’s Atlas Shrugged

  25. Charles Dickens1812-1870 • Include varieties of poor people in his novels - brought the problems of poverty to the attention of his readers: • “It is scarcely conceivable that anyone should…exert a stronger social influence than Mr. Dickens has…. His sympathies are on the side of the suffering and the frail; and this makes him the idol of those who suffer, from whatever cause.” Harriet Martineau • The London Times called him "pre-eminently a writer of the people and for the people . . . the 'Great Commoner' of English fiction." • Dickens aimed at arousing the conscience of his age. To his success in doing so, a Nonconformist preacher paid the following tribute: "There have been at work among us three great social agencies: the London City Mission; the novels of Mr. Dickens; the cholera."

  26. The Russian Novel • Russia from 1850-1920 was a period of social, political, and existential struggle. • Writers and thinkers remained divided: some tried to incite revolution, while others romanticized the past as a time of harmonious order. • The novel in Russia embodied these struggles and conflicts in some of the greatest books ever written. • The characters in the works search for meaning in an uncertain world, while the novelists who created them experiment with modes of artistic expression to represent the troubled spirit of their age.

  27. The Russian Novel Even beyond their deaths, the two novelists stand in contrariety… Tolstoy, the mind intoxicated with reason and fact; Dostoevsky, the contemner of rationalism, the great lover of paradox; …Tolstoy, thirsting for the truth, destroying himself and those about him in excessive pursuit of it; Dostoevsky, rather against the truth than against Christ, suspicious of total understanding and on the side of mystery; …Tolstoy, like a colossus bestriding the palpable earth, evoking the realness, the tangibility, the sensible entirety of concrete experience; Dostoevsky, always on the verge of the hallucinatory, of the spectral, always vulnerable to daemonic intrusions into what might prove, in the end, to have been merely a tissue of dreams; ~ George Steiner in Tolstoy or Dostoevsky: An Essay in the Old Criticism (1959) Fyodor Dostoevsky1821-1881The GamblerCrime and PunishmentNotes from UndergroundThe Brothers Karamazov Leo Tolstoy1828-1910The CossacksAnna KareninaWar and PeaceResurrection

  28. Modernism On or about December 1910, the world changed.” -- Virginia Woolf • “Modernism” designates an international artistic movement, flourishing from the 1880s to the end of WW II (1945), known for radical experimentation and rejection of the old order of civilization and 19th century optimism; a reaction against Realism and Naturalism • “Modern” implies historical discontinuity, a sense of alienation, loss and despair – angst -- a loss of confidence that there exists a reliable, knowable ground of value and identity. • Horrors of WW I (1914-1918)

  29. Stream of Consciousness • Narration that mimics the ebb and flow of thoughts of the waking mind • Uninhibited by grammar, syntax or logical transitions • A mixture of all levels of awareness – sensations, thoughts, memories, associations, reflections • Emphasis on how something is perceived rather than on what is perceived • James Joyce, Dorothy Richardson, Virginia Woolf, Thomas Wolfe, William Faulkner Virginia Woolf 1882-1941To the LightHouseThe WavesMrs. DallowayOrlando James Joyce 1882-1941The DublinersPortrait of an ArtistUlyssesFinnegan’s Wake

  30. Post-Modernism • “Postmodernism” is widely used to define contemporary (post-1970s) culture, technology and art – an age transformed by information technology, shaped by electronic images and fascinated with popular art. • Rejects the elitism and difficulty of Modernism • Postmodernism celebrates the idea of fragmentation, provisionality, or incoherence. • “The world is meaningless? Let's not pretend that art can make meaning then, let's just play with nonsense.” • Emphasis on reflexivity – fictions about fiction -- metafiction

  31. -Influences on Modernism • Industrial Revolution - social problems • Darwin – Origin of the Species • Marx – Communist Manifesto • Nietzsche – Complete freedom – “God is Dead” • Sartre - existentialism • Freud and Jung • Einstein and Planck • WWI, WWII • Great Depression • Launch of Sputnik, end of Colonialism • World Communism

  32. Magical RealismLatin American “Boom” • “A worldwide twentieth-century tendency in the graphic and literary arts…. The frame of surface of he work may be conventionally realistic, but contrasting elements – such as the supernatural, myth dream, fantasy – invade the realism and change the whole basis of the art.” Harmon and Holman • Latin American literary “Boom” began in the 1950s: Jorge Luis Borges, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jose Donoso, Mario Vargas Llosa • “ The authors involved are resolutely engaged in a transfiguration of Latin American reality, from localism to a kind of heightened, imaginative view of what is real--a universality gained by the most intense and luminous kind of locality.” Alexander Coleman

  33. Magical RealismPost-Colonial Literature • An exploration of the encounter of different cultures, world views, and perceptions of reality.  What is absolutely ordinary and "real" to one culture, is "magical" to the other culture.  • From a "Western" viewpoint, the other culture's reality is often described as superstition, witchcraft or nonsense. • From another culture's viewpoint (Native American, African American, Eastern, African, etc.) western logic and science are viewed as "magic" or disconnected from the spiritual world.  • The intersect of these different world views is Magical Realism. • Magical Realism Links 

  34. Contemporary Movements • Post-modern • Neo-modern • Preoccupied with perception, fragmentation, loss of belief in anything outside of self, pervasive irony • Immediately after WWII – threat of annihilation • 1960’s-present – social unrest and political upheaval

  35. Modernists • Realism –Naturalism • Crane – Red Badge of Courage • Norris’ Octopus • Dreiser’s AN American Tragedy, Sister Carrie • Remarque – All Quiet on the Western Front • Mann – The Magic Mountain • Wharton – Age of Innocence • Steinbeck – The Grapes of Wrath • Social Criticism • Sinclair – The Jungle • Wolf – Look Homeward, Angel • Lost Generation – Expats • Heminway – A Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms • Fitzgerald • Regionalism • Twain, London, Cather – west • Chopin, Faulkner – south • Existentialism • Kafka

  36. Cont. Writers • Gordimer – • Alice Walker • Toni Morrison • Elie Wiesel • John Updike • Bobbie Mason • Anne Tyler • Saul Bellow • Bernard Malamud • Amy Tan • And it moves on to • Post Contemporary??

  37. Think about your Reading • What types of books have you read? • What gaps are there in your reading? • Will any books on your “want to read” list help fill in those gaps? • Gender, Minority gaps? • What most appeals to you and why?